This past Good Friday, I placed an order at the McDonald’s drive thru and pulled up to pay for it. To my surprise, the cashier told me that the lady in front of me had paid for it already. I looked up and a lady was pulling away as she waved to me from her car window. I waved back astonished. She was a complete stranger.
I have read several stories on Facebook from people who had experienced the “pay it forward” gesture at Starbucks or somewhere similar. But it was the first time that it happened to me. I chalked it up to the spirit of the Easter season. I was glad that my 8-year-old had witnessed such a selfless act. I looked in my rearview mirror and realized there was no one in line behind me. I was so anxious to return the favor to someone. The perfect opportunity occurred two days later. A restaurant owner had given me a “pass” on a take-out order two weeks prior when I didn’t have enough cash on hand. (Their establishment did not accept AMEX.) I was so embarrassed. I ordered from that restaurant again and paid double for my order when I picked it up.
Enriching the Lives of the Less Fortunate
Those events got me to thinking. The less fortunate across the country do not get to enjoy many of the standard living conditions that most citizens have. They might be living in poverty from pay check to pay check, eating poor quality food, or may even be homeless and enduring the relentless weather. There are many things that can be done to enhance the lives of those in poverty, leading to positive life changes and choices for those individuals.
Street pianos in New York have proven to be delightful community attractions, encouraging interactions between the young and old regardless of class. New York is a city of limitless talent, and these pianos encourage the musically inclined to delight thousands of people during their short displays. Encouraging all art forms within poor neighborhoods can provide a positive escape for those who struggle every day.
Miniature Housing Programs
For the homeless, a safe, dry home is a dream come true. Across the world, miniature housing programs are being developed and placed in poor neighborhoods. These miniature homes offer just enough square footage for sleeping and storing items; some even have small kitchens. These tiny home communities might feature a community kitchen, public bathroom, and much more for the homeless residents. With this temporary housing and job placement programs, the homeless can regain footing and reenter the working class.
More and more charitable restaurants continue to come about in large cities, with the goal of offering a hot meal to everyone who needs it. These restaurants ask for donations with every meal; so that each customer can pay as much as they can offer. Otherwise, diners can work for their meals. There are also diners and cafes that have a “Pay It Forward” program in place, where customers can pay in advance for meals, drinks, and more for people who otherwise may not eat that day. Their charitable business model is a great attraction for the kind-hearted patrons, who oftentimes pay far in excess of what their meals might actually cost.
Regardless of the situation behind an individual’s poverty, each and every person deserves a home and food to eat. With the increasing programs and events for the homeless and less fortunate, it is now easier than ever for these people to enjoy the fine arts, get a hot shower, enjoy a warm meal, and find job assistance.
The opportunities to pay it forward are numerous. Have you paid it forward lately?
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